What You Need to Know About the Malaria Outbreak in Florida

Person scratching mosquito bites

On June 26, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory for residents of Florida and Texas. Within the last two months, they have identified multiple locally acquired malaria cases in those states. So, what does that mean, and what should you do to protect yourself? The experts at Florida Pest Control explain what you need to know about malaria, how it spreads, and how you can keep the disease at bay.

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease that spreads to humans through mosquito bites. It typically begins with flu-like symptoms such as chills, muscle aches, vomiting, and fatigue. However, if it is left untreated it can lead to death by causing kidney failure, seizures, and other serious conditions. 

Most people experience symptoms within four weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito, though some can develop the illness much later – even up to a year after the initial infection. If you think that you may have malaria, you should seek immediate medical attention for a diagnosis and treatment.

Why Are the Recent Malaria Cases Significant?

Malaria is a widespread disease that affects many parts of the world, though it is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions. But, if it’s a global problem, why has the CDC put out a health advisory for these cases in particular? 

The reason why these malaria cases are so significant is that they are the first locally transmitted cases in the United States since 2003. Over the last 20 years, nearly all instances of malaria in the US have occurred shortly after a person traveled to a place where malaria is more common. Even though the current outbreak is not large, it’s crucial to contain the disease before it can become a more widespread problem in the US.

Is Malaria Contagious?

Contrary to what many people believe, malaria cannot spread from person to person. It only spreads through infected mosquitoes. That is why one of the best ways to prevent the disease is to avoid mosquito bites.

How Can I Prevent Mosquito Bites?

It may seem impossible to avoid mosquitoes, especially during summertime here in Florida. However, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from mosquitoes:

  • Limit mosquito populations on your property: The fewer mosquitoes on your property, the less likely you are to be bitten. Since these pests need stagnant water to breed, start by eliminating even the smallest puddles that accumulate in your yard. Check your gutters, playground equipment, landscaping features, upturned buckets, and other spots that water could gather.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants: Though some mosquitoes can bite through clothing, they are less likely to access your skin if you are wearing protective clothing. 
  • Avoid going out at dawn and dusk: Mosquitoes are crepuscular creatures, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. Staying indoors during these times can help you avoid massive swarms and reduce your likelihood of being bitten. 
  • Use mosquito netting and check your screens: The last thing you want is to have mosquitoes buzzing around your home. Repair any holes in your door and window screens, and consider sleeping under a mosquito net. You can also use mosquito netting to protect your porch so you can enjoy sitting outside without worrying about bites. 
  • Apply an EPA-registered repellent: The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of registered products that can help deter mosquitoes and other pests. To find the right option for your needs and to learn about safely applying repellents, visit their site here.
  • Avoid wasting your time with ineffective DIY methods: There are endless tips and tricks on the Internet that promise to keep mosquitoes away. Unfortunately, many of these tips are not worth the effort and money – and some can even backfire. Read through our other blog to learn which mosquito prevention tips aren’t effective

Professional Mosquito Extermination Services

Struggling with mosquitoes on your property? Overwhelmed with mosquito prevention and want help getting started? The experts at Florida Pest Control have you covered! Our state-licensed technicians have proudly served homes and businesses throughout Florida since 1949, and we offer comprehensive mosquito control that is rooted in Integrated Pest Management techniques. We will create a custom treatment plan that is tailored to your space and lifestyle needs. To get help removing mosquitoes from your property, give us a call today!